Air cadet modest response to glowing praise World War II

Air cadet modest response to glowing praise World War II
Hondo Air Base, 1942, aerial view.

Frank is flying more and more––obviously required preparation for his future on a B-17 Bomber. Even though he’ll be navigator, all men need to know how to fly. Frank's mother had received the below letter from the Hondo Navigation School (note: it's dated April 10th, so it took a long time to get to her!).

Grandma Gartz mentioned its high praise in her May 5th letter to her son ("As an aviation cadet, your son is a member of a very select group, chosen from the very best of American youth.")

Frank's  response to his mother's obvious pride reveals his innate modesty and understanding of the military. He also chides his father for  not taking care of his health, a response to his mother's letter  in which she tells Frank of my grandfather's seriously infected knees. Ebner Mil Serv LTRs 1944-04-10 from Cecil H Childre-13

Letterhead cr prop & Wings USAAF

(No date but based on content it was around 5/5 or 6. He is responding to his mother's 5/3 letter with news of my grandfather's bad knee and other updates in the 5/3 letter.)

Dear Dad and Mom, [Dad]:

I hear you have been taking poor care of yourself. It’s about time you took things a little easy. Remember you aren’t a kid any more. I wish I could bet back there some way to help out while you are in bed and for God’s sake stay there till Kenny [family doctor and friend from my dad’s youth] says it’s O.K. to get up.  How the hell did you do it anyway?

Tell Mom that I feel swell and I don’t miss the meals at all. I’ve lost 8 lbs. and I look and feel 100% better.  I’ll watch my health and take it easy but I must lose weight. I went up for the first time yesterday in the morning and had a swell flight. We flew a 3 legged mission from Hondo to Waco to San Angelo and back to Hondo. We were up for 4 hrs and 15 minutes. We will fly again tomorrow morning at 0730 and will do the same mission all over again.

I’ve looked through all my possessions and I haven’t been able to find those negatives so they must be home. Look through the stuff I sent home in the last package. I think I sent it in that bunch. These are the ones – one of the campus with Alice and myself standing behind a large stone with the campus in the background. One of the river with a boulder marking the landing of Stevens who founded Stevens Point. And I think that there’s one of the dormitory. Please look again and if you find them, ask Fred to print up a few of each for me.

I hate to tell you this and disturb your beautiful thoughts but everyone who comes to advanced navigation school, that is, those who last this long, get one of those letters sent to their homes.

Thanks ever so much for the money you sent me. I couldn’t get the uniform as yet because they had everything in my size reserved for the graduation class. You understand Officers come first then cadets. Vivian Lund is a swell kid and lots of fun. We have plans to go to San Antonio next weekend to celebrate my birthday. I hope we have a good time. I hope that soon I’ll be able to send you a better picture of myself to keep in the living room but till I do I sent you the latest I had.

Till I write again take care of yourself and give that knee a chance to heal itself. Love your son, Frank

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ORIGINAL LETTER BELOW. CLICK TWICE IF IT APPEARS TO BE CUT OFF. USE BACK BUTTON TO RETURN TO POST. Ebner LTRs 1944-04-15 ~ to Parents-1 Ebner LTRs 1944-04-15 ~ to Parents 2-2 Ebner LTRs 1944-04-15 ~ to Parents 3-3 Ebner LTRs 1944-04-15 ~ to Parents 4-4

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    Linda Gartz

    I was born and raised on Chicago's West Side, where the Gartz family lived and worked for most of the 20th century. After my mom died in 1994, my brothers and I poked around the the attic of my parents' home and discovered a trove of letters, diaries, documents, and photos that had been saved for almost a century. Taken as a whole, they focus a lens on the history of our city and life in another era, as seen through the eyes of regular folks. Go to where you'll find my blog, Family Archaeologist (a clickable link is on the "About Letters of a World War II Airman" page). There you can explore this historical treasure trove that illuminates history and our shared humanity. I started my blog, "Letters of a World War II Airman," on the 70th anniversary of the date my uncle, Frank Ebner Gartz, was drafted into World War II military service. You can see that first post and the first three months of 1943 letters at my website, All future letters will be posted on this blog. I'm an author, archivist and television producer. Please visit my website,, to see my published articles and an overview of my television productions.

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